Deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope, 1990. The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was put into orbit from the Space Shuttle Discovery, mission STS-31 on 24 April 1990. HST is shown, still in the grasp of the shuttle's robot arm, with the earth in the background, during the deployment of the solar panels and antennae. HST was designed to see seven times further into space than had been possible before, without the distortion caused by the earth's atmosphere. Problems with its giant mirror meant that it did not initially work as well as expected. Corrective optics were installed in 1993, greatly improving the telescope's performance, enabling it to view the Universe in unprecedented detail. (Photo by Oxford Science Archive/Print Collector/Getty Images)
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Hubble Telescope's Camera Turns 20 - Here Are Some Of Its Best Photos
On March 7, 2022, the Hubble Space Telescope marked the 20th anniversary of the installation of the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS). Mike Massimino, an astronaut who worked on the installation, noted on NASA's Hubblesite, "We knew ACS would add so much discovery potential to the telescope, but I don't think anybody really understood everything it could do. It was going to unlock the secrets of the universe."
Having snapped images of everything from nebulae to galaxies, the ACS has been an invaluable tool for scientists to unfold mysteries like how dark matter is distributed or how clusters of galaxies evolved. The ACS has a very wide field of view as well as high sensitivity and image quality, which allow it to capture sharp images.
Capturing "deep field" images, which show light from distant stars and galaxies, allowed researchers to look back at some of the most distant and youngest galaxies to learn about the evolution of the universe. ACS also snapped early images of distant massive exoplanets, and images of Pluto and Saturn, allowing both scientists and the public to get close-up views.
After two of the channels on ACS became unusable due to an electronics failure in January 2007, a spacewalking team was sent to repair it in 2008, and they managed to fix the Wide Field Channel, which was the more often-used of the two. ACS has taken more than 125,000 pictures so far and continues to be a source of stunning images of the cosmos.
"The Advanced Camera for Surveys has opened our eyes to a deep and active universe for two decades," said NASA's Hubble Senior Project scientist Jennifer Wiseman. "We are anticipating still more discoveries with this camera, in conjunction with Hubble's other science instruments, for many years to come."